Better lives through livestock
Fodder beet (Beta vulgaris) for livestock feed
on small-scale farms
To provide palatable and high energy feed for livestock with nutritive value similar to cereal grains
• Fodder beet is a biennial plant with thick roots and is cultivated in a cooler climate • The roots are a rich energy source for livestock • Fodder beet needs a long growing season, 6–7 months and is grown in the highlands (1800–3000 masl) of Ethiopia with 750 mm rain and above.
Limitations of use
• Porcupine damage can be a problem • Not suited to water logging areas • Declines in yield at low soil fertility • It cannot withstand frost
done to give 20–25 cm spacing between plants or seedlings can be transplanted from nurseries 1–2 months after planting. • Fertilizer Apply DAP at 100 kg/ha during establishment or requires about 10–15 t/ha of farm yard manure. Manure is very variable in quality and hence rates may vary depending upon soil types and previous cropping. • Weeding Requires effective hand weeding especially during the early establishment period (the first one–two months). • Performance Fodder beet requires a lot of work but rewards are high in terms of yield and animal performance. Average tuber yield is in the range of 13–17 tonnes dry matter/ha. The leaves/tops will also contribute a further
• Field preparation A clean and well-prepared seed bed is required • Establishment Fodder beet does better on light or medium soils to avoid harvest problems. The recommended seed rate is 5–10 kg/ha or use raised seedlings from nursery. Seeds can be row planted in June at 2 cm sowing depth and in rows 50 cm apart. Thinning can be
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